Therapist, Terry Real shares his tips on how to make up after a fight with the feedback wheel

An internationally recognized relationship expert has shared his tried-and-tested method for overcoming any argument with your significant other, detailing his unique ‘feedback wheel’ technique that he says will leave both parties anger-free and happy following a fight. 

Gwyneth Paltrow-approved therapist Terry Real, 72, a self-described ‘fighter’, shared his post-fight tips with the lifestyle expert’s website Goop, where he laid out a four-step method for dealing with an argument, revealing why it’s essential to share ‘feelings not thoughts’ and always put your ‘anger last’.  

Real, who is the author of best-selling book Getting Past You and Me to Build a Loving Relationship, says there are four steps to follow while making up with your partner using the feedback wheel – which only applies after each person has given the other ‘space to cool off.’ 

In his book, Real says that there are four key factors of the feedback wheel which describe what happened during the argument, what opinions you made up about your partner as a result of the argument, how it made you feel, and what you want from your partner now. 

The relationship expert – who uses the method to solve arguments with is wife – says the feedback wheel will work for any couple, noting that fights are a perfectly normal part of a relationship and don’t have to cause major issues, provided they are dealt with properly using these four steps… 

Relationship therapist Terry Real has shared a unique method to help couples overcome any fight in four steps, which he has labeled the ‘feedback wheel’  

A quick guide to the four steps of the feedback wheel

  • ‘Share your feelings not your thoughts’: Tell your partner that what they did made you feel a certain way rather than fighting them with your thoughts
  • ‘Put anger last not first’: Couples should resort to their contradicting go-to emotion and display vulnerability when arguing 
  • ‘Reflect back what you heard: Listening to each other is key in the feedback wheel, let your partner describe how they are feeling and repeat it back to them to 
  • ‘Let the repair happen’: The last step when trying to resolve an argument, couple should ‘detach from the outcome,’ and focus only on their own words and actions 

STEP ONE: What happened?

The most important thing to keep in mind after an argument is that partners are in it together, they are working together to solve the problem not working against each other, and the feedback wheel can help them with that. 

When making up after an argument, and using the feedback wheel it’s important keep it short and complete it ‘in just a few sentences.’ Real notes it’s important to ‘be concise’ while sharing your feelings. 

The most important detail to keep in mind when using the feedback wheel is to ‘share your feelings, not your thoughts – keep them separate.’ 

Real gave an example how to share your feelings and what avoid, saying, ‘I feel like you’re angry doesn’t cut it. Better would be I make up that you’re angry and about that I feel.’

The seven primary feelings which include, joy, pain, anger, fear, shame, guilt and  love are essential to stick to while attempting to make amends with your partner. 

STEP TWO: What you made up about it 

The second step of the feedback wheel is to explain ‘what you made up about’ the argument. 

This effectively requires each person to skip the emotion that first comes to you ‘your go-to emotion, and lead with the others.’ 

To do this, one partner will need to give both themselves and the other partner feedback that evaluates their behavior. 

Real explains this step ‘takes a bit of practice to execute,’ but a great way to start is by using the contradicting emotion of your go-to. 

This mean if someone leads with big, powerful feelings such as anger, then they should relate to vulnerability to help them remain calm and make amends with their partner. 

If someone is used to leading with timid feelings, then they should find their power, not to be confused with going straight to anger, but to confidence.  

Therapist Terry Real shares a surefire way to make up during a fight with the four step feedback wheel

The best-selling author gives readers an inside scoop on a method even he uses in new book Getting Past You & Me to Build a More Loving Relationship

Relationship expert Terry Real shares the four step feedback wheel to make up during a fight in his best-selling book Getting Past You & Me to Build a More Loving Relationship

Actress and owner of Goop Gwyneth Paltrow takes Real's feedback wheel advice saying it's a 'roadmap for all seeking true intimacy'

Actress and owner of Goop Gwyneth Paltrow takes Real’s feedback wheel advice saying it’s a ‘roadmap for all seeking true intimacy’

The relationship expert wants everyone to ‘find the hurt,’ during this step of the feedback wheel and ‘put anger last not first.’

This shift from anger and vulnerability will result in a sea-saw effect and will make both partners more open to fixing the problem together. 

STEP THREE: How you felt about it

The third step of this process is to ‘detach from the outcome.’ 

Once one partner has shared how their feeling, they are finished, now they must let go of any expectations or any emotions that are holding them back from making up with them, and most importantly, give them their chance to give feedback. 

During this step of the feedback wheel, they should focus on the words they are sharing, their own personal experience, rather than focusing on what the outcome or result may be. 

Real point out that partners need to hold themselves accountable to their mistakes while listening to what their partner is saying. 

When couples get caught up in an argument, it’s easy for them to loose sight of what their saying, forgetting that they may be hurting the one they love.  

To avoid this think about what ‘you need to give this person to make them feel better.’

A great way to do this is by listening and then reflecting back what you heard. 

When reflecting back what you heard make sure to respond to your partner’s feedback in an empathetic manner, making sure to take accountability for any mistakes.  

‘The more accountable you are, the more your partner might relax,’ says Real in his tips on how to use the feedback wheel. 

When someone realizes what mistakes they’ve made, they’re less likely to repeat them in the future. 

Real notes that, making excuses will not help you mend the relationship, but taking accountability will. 

‘When your partner is giving you their feedback, and telling you what they want, it’s essential you think about the requests you can fulfill, rather than the ones you can’t,’ says relationship expert and best selling author. 

If couples start out by telling their partner they aren’t able fulfill one of their requests, they’ll leave them feeling ‘desperate’ and ‘minimized,’ but if ‘you put some energy into what you’re willing to give, it disarms our partners, and sometimes they’re even grateful.’

STEP FOUR: What you’d like now 

To conclude the feedback wheel, partners will need to ‘let the repair happen.’

Going back and forth about what they do and don’t believe will not help to fix the fight. 

‘Remember, there’s a world of difference between complaining about what you’re not getting and having the capacity to open up and receive it,’ says best-selling author Real. 

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